Chinese tree flowers in Ireland for first time in 91 years

A Chinese Goat Horn Tree has flowered at the National Trust‘s Rowallane Garden near Saintfield, County Down, after being tended to by gardeners for 91 years.

Last weekend, the first buds opened into a white flower. After the flowers, the tree should bear curved, spindle-shaped fruits that resemble goat horn, which give it its name.

carrierea calycina

Averill Milligan, the head gardener, said: ‘We’d noticed in June that the tree was making flower bud growth, which has slowly developed over the past week or so. We were intrigued to see what the flowers would look like, and we’ve kept a close eye on it.

‘Last weekend, we saw the first buds opening into a pale white flower that also has a lovely light scent, and the tree has hundreds still waiting.’

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The plant was brought home by plant-collector Ernest H. Wilson from Sichuan in western China in 1908, and a sapling from it was planted at Rowallane in 1919.

Birr Castle

There are only two specimens from the original tree still alive. The other is at Birr Castle, County Offaly.

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